Super Rugby

Aplon a 'big loss' for Bulls, but Sharks boss wary of 'dangerous' Kriel

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David Kriel (Gallo)
David Kriel (Gallo)

Not having Gio Aplon available is a "big loss" for the Bulls, but Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes they have an equally dangerous replacement in Super Rugby newbie David Kriel

The 38-year-old Aplon, lured to Loftus this season in a remarkable return to South African rugby, will not play again this season after injuring his ACL in last weekend's loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. 

It is a devastating injury for the fleet-footed veteran, but Aplon's absence now means an opportunity for 21-year-old Kriel.

A player who comes incredibly highly-rated given his time at Western Province, Kriel has also caught the attention of Everitt. 

"Gio is a big loss for them and obviously a dangerman in their team," Everitt said from Durban on Thursday shortly after naming his side for the clash.

"We played against him [at Super Fan Saturday] and he was certainly on form in those early stages against the Cheetahs on Friday night.

"We don't really focus on individuals, but I'm sure that the Bulls will miss him and we wish him well in his recovery. It's not a nice injury to have as a player, let alone when you're a little older.

"I presume David Kriel will be the starting fullback for them. I know David ... he's a guy with a lot of potential. He's a tall rugby player and he's quick.

"He's got a lot of flair, so he probably brings the same threat as Gio Aplon."

The Sharks secured a 19-16 win over the Lions in their opening fixture, while the Bulls were 30-23 winners over Griquas before going down 19-17 to the Cheetahs last weekend.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:00.

Teams:

Bulls

15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

Substitutes: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren

Sharks

15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe

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